144 SCRA 597 (1986)


The Philippine Bar Association, private respondent, hired the services of the petitioner to make the plans and specifications for the construction of their office building. The building was completed by the contractor but subsequently, an earthquake struck causing its partial collapse and damage.


Is the petitioner liable for damages in this case?


Yes. The petitioner made significant deviations from the plans and specifications, thereby failing to observe requisite workmanship standards in the construction of the building while their architect drew plans that contain defects and other inadequacies. Both the contractor and the architect cannot escape liability for damages when the building collapsed due to an earthquake when other buildings in the area withstood the earthquake. Further, the lower court also found that the spirals in one of the columns on the ground floor have been cut. One who creates a dangerous condition is still liable even if an act of God may have intervened. As such, the liability of the contractor and the architect for the collapse of the building is solidary.

The principle embodied in the act of God doctrine strictly requires that the act must be one occasioned exclusively by the violence of nature and all human agencies are to be excluded from creating or entering into the cause of the mischief. When the effect, the cause of which is to be considered, is found to be in part the result of the participation of man, whether it be from active intervention or neglect, or failure to act, the whole occurrence is thereby humanized, as it were, and removed from the rules applicable to the acts of God.

 * Case digest by Immanuel Granada, LLB-1, Andres Bonifacio Law School, SY 2017-2018